In summary, the Nissan Skyline GT-R is prohibited from being imported into the US since it does not adhere to the 1988 Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act. The Skyline was not designed with the necessary safety elements to abide by the applicable traffic safety regulations.
A vehicle is exempt from these rules once it reaches the age of 25, at which point it is allowed to be imported and used on American roads.
With California being likely the most noteworthy exception in terms of particular states where you would have difficulties importing due to tougher emissions control legislation, this means that vehicles like the R32 GTR (the original “Godzilla”) can be imported into the USA.
By 2024, you should be able to start importing the R34 GTR. The oldest versions of the R33 GTR are also starting to become legal for import and compliance (provided there are no additional changes to legislation by then, or further tightening of emissions and environmental rules which is always a risk in the current climate).
To be on the safe side, there are no laws that prevent you from importing a Nissan Skyline as a “show piece” that isn’t allowed to be driven on the road but instead sits in your garage. However, we have heard stories of people looking to buy and store Nissan Skylines with a view to registering and complying them once they turn 25 years old in the hopes of increasing value. While it is likely not a bad idea, there is always a chance that the government could modify import regulations, leaving you with a depreciating burden rather than an asset that depreciates over time. Although it’s unlikely, it’s nevertheless important to remark.
We would be interested in hearing from you if you are aware of any other legitimate ways to buy a Skyline GTR in the United States. Please comment down below!
Was the GT-R R34 prohibited because it was too quick?
HotCars says that the R34’s illegality is due to a commonly held misconception.
The terrifying two-door coupe had a 2.6-liter twin-turbocharged engine that was capable of producing 300 horsepower and 266 lb.-ft of torque. Additionally, some enthusiasts claim that it handles better than any sports vehicle in history.
Because of its exceptional performance, the Skyline GT-R R34 was allegedly prohibited because American police cars could not keep up with it.
The fact that this Nissan has a top speed of 200 mph and could easily outrun most police officers is true, but it is not the reason it is forbidden in the United States.
Nissan never intended for its Skyline GT-R series cars to be sold in the United States because the Japanese automaker was unsure at the time of how American sports car fans would react to an import.
The American FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) laws and emissions testing were not taken into consideration when it was constructed. Owning one is still prohibited for this reason.
Can I bring the Nissan Skyline into the US legally?
First things first, we want to set the record straight and say that several Skyline models offered in the US, mostly under the ‘Infiniti’ brand, are in a whole different league.
You’ve probably heard the untrue allegations that the later-model Nissan Skyline R33 and R34 GT-Rs are currently prohibited from entering the US.
The most frequently cited responses include “Because they’re right-hand drive” and “Because they’re moving so quickly the Police can’t catch them.”
If a vaping Honda owner offers either defense at the neighborhood meet, politely leave the room and give them the link to this article.
First off, the R32’s legalization in the US demonstrates that right-hand drive vehicles are not prohibited there.
Even the US Postal Service has frequently used RHD vehicles, despite the fact that they are by no means ubiquitous, mostly for the ease of access to the curb.
The US import restrictions are completely to blame for the Nissan Skyline’s unlawful importation for usage on public roads for two very straightforward reasons.
Examining the Automotive Gray Market in More Detail
Nissan did not create their Skylines with the US market in mind. The creator of the Skylines, Naganori Ito, was imitating his instructor Shinichiro Sakurai. His task was to design a vehicle that would compete favorably with Porsche in the Japan Grand Prix.
The Skylines’ literal father was this Nissan 2000 GT. It was therefore predicted that when the 2000 GT showed its teeth at the track, everybody would be looking at the 2000 GT’s offspring.
Everyone wanted one after seeing how well it worked. The gray market became relevant at this point.
The gray market first gained popularity during World War II when soldiers fell in love with European automobiles and discovered that importing and maintaining the vehicles to meet US regulations was less expensive than purchasing the automobiles in the US.
People were able to import automobiles from the 1960s to the 1980s as long as they complied with US safety regulations. Gray market importers initially performed a fantastic job of importing cars and modifying them to meet the necessary American standards.
While the majority of gray market importers were legitimate, some discovered legal loopholes and began casually breaking the rules. At that time, illicit exotic vehicles, including the Skyline, were all over the streets.
In spite of the fact that they complied with US safety and pollution regulations, this is what encouraged automakers to pressure Congress into passing the legislation that forbade the import of automobiles from the gray market.
In short, the Skyline became unlawful since it didn’t adhere to the safety standards and laws that the Motor Vehicle Safety Compliance Act of 1988 established.
It’s interesting to note that the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) gave amnesty for imported vehicles older than 25 years after the statute was passed. This means that the R32 and R33 Skylines can be lawfully imported, but not the R34 until 2024.
Why Can’t I Drive a Nissan Skyline GT-R in the United States?
One of Nissan’s masterpieces is the Skyline GT-R. We shouldn’t be shocked that it has developed a cult following all over the world given its unparalleled power, handling, and design. The Skyline GT-R is regarded as one of the all-time greatest drifting vehicles and has won numerous awards.
Unfortunately, the Skyline GT-R cannot be fully appreciated in the American market. For the following reasons, the car is not certified for sale in the US:
- It’s a luxury car on the gray market with features that violate US safety and emissions regulations.
- All of the vehicles are right-hand drive. None are made to US standards.
- Although Skyline GT-R spare parts are unavailable in the US, you might look into the brand-new NISMO Heritage Parts program. As of December 1, 2017, some new GT-R parts are being marketed in Japan.
- It is faster than US police cars due to its speed.
Having said that, bringing a Skyline GT-R into the US is not absolutely difficult. (See the poster we created to celebrate the GT-R.)
The Nissan R34 is road legal, right?
Sports car fans all over the world crave the revered R34 Nissan GT-R. Even though we are aware that it is now illegal to own one in the US until at least 2024, when the first R34s will be permitted for import under the 25 Year Rule, aficionados continue to hunt for ways around the law. Any day of the week, it’s especially alluring to purchase one in Canada, which is just across the border.
Can an R34, however, be imported lawfully? Are R34s permissible in the United States? Why was it never sold here to begin with? Would you mind driving one over?
In addition, the solutions are applicable to practically any vehicle that is less than 25 years old and was never purchased brand-new in the US.
Are R34s still prohibited in the US?
If you used a registered importer to bring the car over (RI). In order to comply with the applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, the RI will modify the vehicle (FMVSS). All motor vehicles less than 25 years old must adhere to FMVSS safety requirements in order to be permitted for usage in the United States under the new car importation regulations.
In other words, it is now possible to legally import a Nissan Skyline R34 into the USA. However, connecting to the RI and adapting the car to be road-worthy will be an expensive task.
The amount? I’m not sure. The initial cost of the car, shipping charges to transport it abroad, import taxes, federal taxes, and other as-yet-unknown “hidden costs” must all be taken into account. Then, you must cooperate with the RI to ensure that it passes emissions and crash tests. This becomes costly and may even need disassembling the car to upgrade or replace certain components to make it “safer.”
In the end, I’d estimate that it would cost $20k to $50k to legally import a Skyline r34. Given that the fifth-generation Nissan Skyline R34 was produced from 1999 to 2002, that’s a hefty amount to pay for a vehicle that is almost 20 years old! Perhaps all you need is an older R32. Heck, some individuals even prefer the R32 GTR:
However, if you have unlimited funds and a burning desire to acquire an R34 Skyline, go ahead. But it wasn’t always like this. Before the NHTSA changed the import laws, if you find a Nissan Skyline R34 driving around the streets, that vehicle is most likely a product of the 2006 Motorex scandal.
Are JDM automobiles forbidden?
One of the most commonly used terms when discussing foreign vehicles that are prohibited in the US is “JDM.” The phrase “Japanese Domestic Market” refers to the fact that the vehicles were produced in Japan specifically for Japanese motorists. JDM automobiles are probably the most sought-after imports. You may have seen JDM automobiles featured prominently in movies, video games, and a variety of other popular media in recent years, which has greatly increased their appeal. These foreign vehicles are renowned for their distinctive performance strategies, whether it be for drifting, cutting-edge drivetrains, or just a cult following that the vehicle has developed. You might be wondering, “Why are JDM automobiles illegal, though.” It all boils down to construction if you’re wondering why Japanese vehicles are forbidden in the United States. Since Americans drive on the right side of the road and have vehicles that are left-hand drive, driving on the left side of the road and utilizing right-hand drive vehicles are both unlawful on this side of the Pacific. Almost all JDM vehicles manufactured in 1997 or later cannot enter the United States without paying a hefty fine. More severe punishments are deserved for owning or operating illegal JDM vehicles than for using drugs or automatic guns. Maybe in the future, the government will set priorities correctly.